Some structural streamlining is saving police and the City of Barrie some money in the long term. The Service says its provincial grant funding has taken a hit, however.
The Barrie Police Service has presented its 2020 budget to Barrie City Council for approval, a budget that seeks over $55.76 million from city coffers, representing a 4.7% increase over last year.
Some of the challenges facing police in preparing this budget this year include incorporating the rising costs of salaries and benefits, upgrades to radio systems and Next Generation 911 technology, and a nearly million-dollar reduction in grant money from the province. This according to Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood. “There are several factors and unique circumstances which have a direct financial impact,” Chief Greenwood told Council on Monday night, “that include…. significant reduction in almost a million dollars in grant revenues,” Due to changes in funding out of Queen’s park, Barrie Police say it will note a $920,066 shortfall on its bottom line. “A loss of $920,000 of provincial funding,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, “the police services board chose to present the request where we will be asking the people of Barrie to pick up the bill for provincial downloading in the amount of $920,000, and that’s new in 2020.” This represents about 1.7% of the service’s total budget.
Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte MPP Doug Downey has previously told Barrie 360 police services and municipalities both received extensive notice prior to budget time, in order for “Some things are shifting,” said Downey, “and we’re trying to communicate that as quickly as possible.”
The Service is also covering moving costs; with the completion of Phase One of the Emergency Services Campus expected in 2020, fewer of its structures are being counted in the official tally through to the end of the year, equalling a projected annual savings of $377,000. However, it says one-time facility transition costs will top $501,000, which includes the doubling up of some expenses as officers staff are split between five locations during the transition to three.
The Barrie Police Service is also requesting a new training centre in this year’s budget, at a cost of $500,000. A training centre was proposed for the Emergency Services Campus at the time of its planning in 2017, but the council of the day voted to defer it until another date. This request was not added to the Service’s bottom line.
The budget presented at Monday’s meeting, along with that of the County of Simcoe and Barrie Public Library, will be taken into consideration as Barrie Council consider its overall budget. A final vote on the city’s budget is expected in December.